It had to be an omen.

Max Trenorden was no slouch at winning elections between 1986 -2013 but the former National Party politician from the Avon Valley looked like the cat who had found the canary after the running of the Westspeed Stayers Bonus Handicap (2200m).

“This is better than winning elections,” said the former National Party stalwart from the Avon Valley. “He just tries and tries and never surrenders.”

Trainer Toby Roney said jockey Craig Staples had ridden the consistent grey galloper, “perfectly, up on the speed.”

Down the straight, the first time, Staples had Verdello Blue racing on the flanks of pacemaker, Imperial Command, in a slowly run race.

Fortunately the pace quickened down the back straight with Staples maintaining his position. “He tends to fight you if the pace is too slow throughout and he did that early today but then relaxed down the back of the course,” the senior jockey said.

“I thought he was gone at the 100m mark and was going to drop out when they eye-balled him. But he never surrenders when he sees them coming at him. Perhaps that is why he was narrowly beaten last start (when ridden by apprentice Mitchell Pateman) because the challenge came very late and he didn’t have time to fight back,” Staples said.

Verdello Blue out-slugged Looking Ahead (Jason Whiting), by a short head with Classique Ivory (Shaun O’Donnell) another head away in third place.

Roney said his galloper would probably now go for a spell. “I really like this horse. He had won about $15,000 when I got him. Since then he has won more than $200,000 for us.”


The original Topper was William Boyd’s famous steed in the many western Hopalong Cassidy movies made over almost two decades.

Boyd purchased Toper in 1937 and had him until the ghostly white horse died in 1961 when both of them were in luxury retirement.

Topper’s Halo may not be as famous but he certainly caught the eye with a fast finishing second behind classy galloper, On The Ropes, last week.

Yesterday jockey Jason Whiting produced another withering finish, from the rear, on the Danehill Express four year old. This time he swept to an easy victory on the Lou and Dion Luciani trained galloper.

The win gave owner Bill Biggs a 70th birthday present, emulating something that had also happened twenty years ago when the owner celebrated his 50th.

Closing Time (Shaun Meeres) and Hans Up (Troy Turner) filled the places.

In the third race over 1600m the master and the apprentice fought out a stirring finish. Paul Harvey on the David Mueller trained Finnegans Gold prevailed after kicking back on the rails to down The Alleged (Alex Hearn), by a short neck.